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Rachel Dratch’s Big Fat Greek Adventure

Rachel Dratch’s Big Fat Greek Adventure (photo)

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After six seasons as a “Saturday Night Live” player, offbeat funny lady Rachel Dratch leapt away from a show she calls a safety net to pursue other TV (“30 Rock”) and film roles (“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Spring Breakdown”). Her latest opportunity to make us giggle is the new rom-com “My Life in Ruins,” which stars Nia Vardalos as a frazzled Greek tour guide (get the title now?) trying to get her “kefi” (groove, mojo, etc.) back. Dratch plays a shrill, uncultured American tourist with whom Vardalos is stuck, with the equally eccentric-humored Harland Williams as Dratch’s oblivious beau. Definitely not a Debbie Downer in real life, Dratch was in great spirits as we sat down to discuss the film’s hard-partying Spanish crew, her theory on funny women, and who was the best lay on “SNL.”

If there’s one thing I gleaned from “My Life in Ruins,” it’s that Americans are the worst tourists ever.

I think they might be, at least for comedy purposes. We had to make them that way. There’s definitely a stereotype that we were playing. You don’t have to be an actor or study society. Everybody’s seen this person in their white sneakers and knee socks and loud voice.

When traveling abroad, do you ever feel self-consciously American?

Not really, although I definitely go for comfort shoes over fashion, like French lady shoes. Maybe that’s where I stand out as an American — I always wear sneakers over there. I hadn’t been to Greece, but we also shot in Spain. There were Spanish women working on this movie with us, and they were always in fancy nice shoes. I was like, “Screw that!”

Do you have any good stories about working with the locals?

The Spanish crew would stay up and party all night long, and then they’d show up for work the next morning. It was six o’clock in the morning! If it was the U.S., people would be like, “Ohhh, I’m so hungover.” Nobody ever complained or even looked tired. They were party machines. But I found out afterward that everyone was on cocaine. I think coke is really big over there, I don’t know. None of us [were], of course. [laughs]

What do people not know about Harland Williams?

Oh my god. He’s an old softie! [laughs] He’s a really weird dude with a gooey center, the king of the non-sequitur. But he’s also the caring, teddy bear kind of guy, even though he’s got an odd brain.

Have you ever been confronted by someone you’ve done a comic impression of on “SNL”?

I did meet Barbara Walters, and I had an impression of her, but that wasn’t so bad. I think Gilda Radner’s impression of [Walters] bummed her out a little bit because it was all about the way she spoke. Mine was pretty tame, so I might’ve gotten off easy. I didn’t do too many impressions on “SNL,” really.

06022009_MyLifeinRuins2.jpgI don’t know, according to Wikipedia…

See, I didn’t write that. They probably threw in people that I don’t [really] do an impression of, like, for one scene or something. Who writes those Wikipedia pages?

Were there any moments on “SNL” when a sketch was written, and an impression wasn’t working out at the last possible moment?

I think that happens more for the guys doing the political people. We went through eight George Bushes. Once Will Ferrell left, it was like, “Screen test! Who will play…” That never happened to me. By the time it’s at the read-through table, if the scene get picked, your impression’s probably already good. Like I said, I didn’t attempt too many people.

You have degrees from Dartmouth in drama and psychology. How often do you utilize the latter?

It comes up when I’m just talking to my friends and having them sort out their problems. It gives me my little therapist jones. It’s the road not taken that I sometimes still think about. I love analyzing people’s dreams, stuff like that. I get my jollies by being an armchair therapist. In terms of approaching work, I guess it’s the same — just observing different types of people. What makes them tick? That sounds so pretentious. [laughs]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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